Fantastical phenomena - visions, apparitions, spirits, monsters, elves and other marvels - formed an intrinsic part of life in the Middle Ages, and yet are not usually afforded serious treatment by historical novelists. My project will examine whether it is possible to reconcile the fantastical with the historical in modern fiction about the period, and how such an integration might be achieved.
The creative component of my thesis will be a historical novel with magic realist elements, set in post-1066 England. Drawing upon concepts of the otherworldly and the monstrous from Anglo-Saxon and Norse traditions, it will explore the trauma of conquest and the imposition of colonial rule.
The accompanying contextual analysis will examine how the fantastical and the historical intersect in a variety of medieval texts, from Beowulf to Eyrbyggja saga, as well as in recent historical novels by writers including Umberto Eco and Kazuo Ishiguro.
Dr Spencer Jordan, School of English, University of Nottingham
Dr Christina Lee, School of English, University of Nottingham
Sworn Sword. London: Preface, 2011.
The Splintered Kingdom. London: Preface, 2012.
Knights of the Hawk. London: Preface, 2013.
The Harrowing. London: Heron, 2016.
Other research interests
- The relationship between history and fiction
- Public understanding of the past